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Tex-Mex, BBQ, and Real Texas Flavor: Eat Like a Local in Mesquite

Written by wpdev May 24, 2023
Bbq ribs and brisket on a plate.

Barbecue joints are the pride and joy of most Texas cities and Mesquite is no exception. Located at the intersection of four highways just outside of Dallas, Mesquite offers a bustling restaurant scene with dozens of options. Of course, you’ll find many Tex-Mex favorites, but there are plenty of ethnic cuisines to choose from as well. So whether you’re looking for traditional barbecue, tacos, Jamaican, or maybe the best gyro you’ve ever tried, you can find it in Mesquite. Here’s just a sample of the food options that await.


Two blueberry muffins are sitting on a tray.

When Rosalina and Jesus migrated to Texas from war-torn El Salvador, Rosi began making “pupusas” to raise money for her church. The traditional thick corn tortillas stuffed with an assortment of fillings were such a hit that the couple decided to open a restaurant. Today, Rosi’s Salvadoran Fusion Cuisine Salvadorian restaurant is one of the most popular lunch restaurants in town, but her breakfast menu is not to be overlooked. The house specialty is Desayuno Rosis, scrambled eggs with potatoes served with rice, beans and fried plantains.

The Mesquite Diner feels like it was created just for breakfast lovers. Not only do they serve breakfast all day, but they have a breakfast dish for every taste. From its famous biscuits and gravy to bagels and cream cheese to eggs and bacon, you could easily eat breakfast here for all three meals and not get bored. If you want to justify your sweet tooth by eating your daily dose of potassium, try the banana hotcakes — three banana-filled hot cakes topped with buttered bananas.


A white container with tacos and limes on it.

It’s no surprise that Tex-Mex is the most common cuisine in the region — and you may have to make some tough choices when it comes down to picking a restaurant.

What’s the opposite of a hole in the wall? Whatever it is, this 9,000-square-foot restaurant has plenty of room to serve you — and Cafe Del Rio delivers with some spectacular options, including freshly marinated fajitas, hand-rolled to order enchiladas and shrimp brochette. The party atmosphere is aided by the Cafe Del Rio Swirl, voted the top margarita in town. Serving up traditional tacos, enchilada and burritos, Dos Panchas is located on Broad Street in Downtown Mesquite. Enjoy an outdoor meal on the excellent patio when the weather is nice.

El Atoron Taqueria y Torteria with two locations in Mesquite: one on Crestridge Drive and one on N. Town East Boulevard. At either spot, you’ll find excellent tacos, quesadillas and tortas (Mexican sandwiches).

You generally want to avoid gas station food, but Fuel City Tacos has become a Texas institution by providing out of this world tacos. Fuel your car as well as your body while stopping by for a quick bite. For authentic Mexican street food and sandwiches, Tortas La Hechizera delivers the goods. It’s a small place, but you can’t beat the tacos al pastor.


Bbq ribs and brisket on a plate.

Of course, Texas is known for its barbecue, and Mesquite BBQ is a longtime favorite. Since 1959 the mom-and-pop restaurant has loaded up plates with pulled-pork, smoked sausage, BBQ Frito pies and all the helpings you can eat. The little restaurant in downtown Mesquite is not fancy, but locals say the brisket here is the best in town. The smokers here are manufactured locally in Mesquite at J&R Manufacturing—and they’re used in restaurants around the world, including the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Pizzeria.

Opened in 2002, Slabs BBQ is the new kid on the block, and the smell of carefully smoked meats wafts out the simple, strip-mall store’s front door every time it is opened. Just make sure you save room for its signature banana pudding. The chopped beef sandwiches are a lunchtime favorite.

The folks at Baker’s Ribs slow-cook their meat over hickory wood in a barbecue pit designed by founder and owner Joe Duncan. Its famous “St. Louis Cut” pork ribs helped them win a number of local best barbecue awards and earned them a coveted spot of Texas Monthly’s Top 50 Best Barbecue Restaurants in the state.

Jamaican and Mediterranean

Mesquite features two restaurants featuring Jamaican cuisine: Reggae Wings & Tings, located in North Town East, features a combination of cooking methods and spices that bring the tastes of the island of Jamaica. Jamaican Cook Shop, on Military Parkway, is a smaller restaurant that’s filled with authentic dishes. Both are good options whether you’re in the mood for jerk chicken or willing to explore some more unique dishes like curry goat, ackee, salt fish and oxtails.

For not-so-conventional food lovers, they also serve gyro pizza topped with meat, tomatoes, onions and cheese with tzatziki on the side. At Yia Yia’s House of Gyros, enjoy the best gyro you’ll find on this side of the Atlantic. The homemade tzatziki sauce is addictive. Both have close to 5-star ratings on Zagat.


Mesquite may not be on the coast, but it is filled with excellent seafood options, no matter what you’re looking to try. Shell Shack is the place to get your favorite crab legs, shrimp, and crawfish covered in savory cajun sauces. If you feel like enjoying the weather while you enjoy your broil, then Juicy Seafood and Bar has a giant patio for you as well.